Updated: Apr 6, 2020
Click the image to watch the video (and read the message below) of Nathan's first update from the Elders at Castleview regarding the changes due to the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020.
Read the full text of Nathan's update here
Brothers and sisters,
I hope this finds you rejoicing in Jesus Christ and the eternal life we have in him.
The elders want to inform you of our current response to the coronavirus pandemic. In short, we have deemed it wise not to gather this Sunday. All church gatherings and activities are canceled until further notice.
We encourage you to tune in to our website’s sermon page on Sunday at 10:30am. We recognize that there is no substitute for the physical gathering, but we want to shepherd the flock as we’re able. Instead of a typical worship service, we’ll have elders on camera, meditating on God’s Word and leading us in prayer.
Here are some of the factors that are informing our decisions.
Unknowns and time The landscape has changed drastically in the past 48 hours. As the elders make decisions, we’re working to keep the potential long-term consequences in mind, while also taking things one week at a time based on what we know presently.
Love of neighbor As God’s people, we need God’s Word and we need each other. The weekly gathering is the highlight of our life together. Only in emergency situations like this do we, with reluctance, take a temporary break from gathering.
Love, not fear, is what compels us to cancel our gathering this Sunday to do our part to help “flatten the curve.” It is out of love for God and neighbor that we take this action, both to protect the lives of people in our community and to preserve the name of Christ. We do not want to give the world reasonable grounds to question our wisdom and love in the midst of a serious pandemic.
These are tricky times to navigate. Some church leaders in Europe have been facing the same challenges, and they shared this:
Unfortunately, ground zero for several of the biggest outbreaks of the virus in France and Spain have been in evangelical church meetings . . . This has left evangelical groups playing defense in the court of public opinion, and we are trying to figure out how far ahead of the curve we need to track to show ourselves to be good citizens.
We want to be on the lookout as a church for how we can love and care for those in need, both in our church family and in our communities.
Guidance from government leaders We take this seriously, not because the state has authority over our gatherings––it doesn’t––but because its job is to care for the common good. God has not given the state the authority to regulate the church. Furthermore, we know from Scripture and from church history that we must always be ready for scenarios in which government leaders would call on churches not to gather and we would reply, “We must obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29).
However, it seems that the current public health guidelines do not unjustly target churches. It is telling that some of the things our culture holds most dear––money, sports, and education/child care––are being put on hold in unprecedented ways. (The NCAA Tournament, first held in 1939, canceled for the first time ever despite bringing in about $1 billion; Marion County Schools are not meeting for the next several weeks; etc.)
Small gatherings We encourage Fellowship Groups and other small gatherings to consider gathering on Sunday morning to watch the live feed and fellowship together at their own discretion. Please continue to abide by CDC precautions about who should meet.
Confidence in God In all situations and at all times, our hope is not in precautions or medical solutions; our hope is in God alone. He has provided for our greatest need in Christ (Romans 8:32), and he will surely care for us to the end. Ultimately, Christians have nothing to fear, for “to live is Christ, and to die is gain” (Phil 1:21).
Let’s work and pray to walk in faith, not fear. May our humble confidence provide a stark contrast and attractive alternative to those living in fear, whose hope is in this life.
5 For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him.
6 He only is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be shaken.
7 On God rests my salvation and my glory; my mighty rock, my refuge is God.
8 Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us.
Please know how much your elders love you. We think of you and pray for you almost constantly.
Nathan Lugbill (on behalf of the Castleview elders)